The previous post talked about thinking & setting key performance indicators (KPIs) - this time, I am talking about aligning your program with your brand.
"Nearly a third of survey respondents (32%) said they have stopped doing business with at least one company altogether as a result of its poor email practices". says Merkle (Feb. 2009). This quote highlights a key point that you must bear in mind: your email campaign is often the first point at which a prospect or customer gets to interact with your business. Good practices here project a positive image of your company's brand. 'You never get a second change at a first impression' as the expression goes.
So, when considering brand alignment, there are two aspects you should consider: 1 - At a strategic level, your programme should be consistent with the brand direction and 2 - At an operational level, the content & layout needs to communicate the brand message.
As an example, take two different example approaches for a hypothetical luxury watch brand & imagine the company wants to introduce a new model to its international clientele. Given the value of the purchase, buyers receive a personal appointment as part of the decision-making process.
Approach 1: Good Practice
The company employs a focused email marketing strategy using a highly segmented, exclusive list. Segmentation is by:
- Geographic location - buyers come from Europe, the Middle-East, Asia
- Previous purchase history - model, value, when it was bought & when the service warranty is due to expire
The email program consists of an initial awareness email campaign to launch the new model, in multiple languages. This goes to clients who last bought their watch 5 years ago, and who have previously purchased at least one other item. A second, follow-up, email offers a personal appointment, based on the prospect having clicked on a "request for further information" link in the first mail. This approach is likely to yield a better "click-rate" due to better targeting - it also fits with the brand, which promotes "exclusivity" & "personal service".
Approach 2: Bad Practice
This watch manufacturer has a target list that is a mixture of high net-worth, regular customers & a lot of one-off purchasers. A program is implemented starting with an undifferentiated weekly newsletter, sent to everyone. Many recipients click the request more information link out of curiosity, but with no intention to buy. The manufacturer sends the same email, to the same list, again over the next 3 weeks due to a high "churn"* rate. The results:
- Actual prospects are irritated by regular undifferentiated mails & they unsubscribe.
- An increased cost to the company of losing contact with genuine prospects within the one-off purchasers reduces the campaign ROI.
- The brand image of "exclusivity" & "personal service" is damaged, with the brand being perceived as "mass-market" & "impersonal".
At this point you have looked at some goals and established the KPIs - don't waste this effort by not managing your company and brand image in the eyes of your customers!
The next post talks about the idea of SWOT analysis as it applies to email marketing
*Churn refers to the attrition rate of the campaign, i.e. non-deliveries, unsubscribes etc.